The Oldest Village is inspired by the oldest village in Portugal - Ponte de Lima, where mass production and industrial consumption have not managed to encroach upon cultural and natural landscape that remains unique and sustainable. In Portugal’s oldest village, people’s lives and homes are intimately woven with the land and the land’s collective memory. The beautifully handcrafted products from this town represent the connection of artisan and environment.
Our mission is to maintain the memory of the oldest village in Portugal by empowering artisans and encouraging Portuguese youth to keep the Minho Region’s tradition of textile production and handmade embroidery.
I was born in Brazil to a family of immigrants from Ponte de Lima, Portugal. Although Rio de Janeiro was my homeland, I was brought up very close to Portuguese traditions where textiles and embroidery have a strong impact on women’s cultural life.
Since very young I was amazed by my mother and grandmother’s sewing and embroidery skills. My mother used to design and make my own clothes. Her creativity and talent were so unique, there was always a friend or relative requesting some of my mothers’s original and feminine outfits. I remember very vividly those moments when family reunions in my grandmother’s house ended up in the sewing room. Since very young I learnt from them to appreciate handcrafted products, and the extraordinary skills to produce them.
Whilst still in Brazil I decided to study Design. Later, and deeply moved by the social tension and violence in Brazil, I became interested in social issues, particularly the influence of industrialisation and capitalism on vulnerable local communities and local economies. I decided to study Development Studies and International Relations, at which point I moved to the UK. Today I am settled in London with my family and I am doing what I always wanted to do - I work around issues of creativity, design, sustainability and social integration.